UK: Dozens More Illegal Boat Migrants Brought Ashore Despite Coronavirus

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Dozens of illegal boat migrants were brought ashore at Dover after being intercepted in the English Channel by the Border Force, despite coronavirus outbreaks in migrant camps in France.

On Friday, the Border Force brought ashore 76 migrants attempting to cross the Channel in five small boats. There were 55 men and 21 women on the boats, who claim to be from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Kuwait.

An estimated 400 boat migrants successfully reached British shores in April, the highest amount of illegal crossings ever recorded in one month. Fears of coronavirus outbreaks within the migrant camps at Calais and Dunkirk are believed to be driving the increase in migrant crossings.

In response to the fears that migrants are importing the Wuhan virus, Dover MP, Natalie Elphicke said that migrants attempting to cross the Channel should immediately be sent back to France or at least face mandatory quarantines upon arriving in England.

“France’s lockdown means people need permission just to walk the dog. So how come hundreds of migrants can still pile into small boats and illegally motor into Britain?” Elphicke asked in comments reported in the Daily Mail.

“We know that the coronavirus has infected the French camps,” she said.

“The French have been paid tens of millions of pounds [by British taxpayers] to stop these dangerous journeys being made — it’s vital the Home Office make the French honour their obligations in order to stop the further spread of the virus into Britain.

“Given the public health risk, anyone arriving who is not returned must be immediately quarantined for 14 days to protect public health – and safeguard the Port of Dover’s vital role in supplying the nation with food and medicines,” Elphicke concluded.

Since the beginning of the year, an estimated 831 migrants have successfully crossed the Channel into Britain, four times as many as were recorded during the same time period last year.

Attempting to enter the country illegally by boat or other means does not guarantee that a migrant will face deportation, as in Australia.

Those who are brought ashore are given the opportunity to apply for asylum, in line with the European Union regulations which Britain is still bound by during the Brexit transition period, and the Home Office admitted that just 155 illegal boat migrants have been deported back to Europe since January of 2019 — a very small percentage of those who have arrived.

The leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage said of the latest migrant crossings: “This continuing flow of illegal migrants makes many of us very angry. What will [Home Secretary Priti Patel] do about it?”

The Home Secretary has consistently said that she is “determined” to end the illegal crossings, but there is no indication that the government will begin to immediately send boat migrants to France — a safe, first world state far from any conflict zones — rather than bringing them ashore as usual.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka


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